Today the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) started the legislative proceedings of the bill on the ratification of the Estonian-Russian border treaties. At the sitting of the Committee, Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Kaljurand gave an overview the contents, background and impact of the bill.
“We started our hearings with the meeting with the Foreign Minister, but before the first reading of the Bill in the Session Hall of the Riigikogu, the Committee plans to meet with the representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, the Police and Border Guard Board, Chancellor of Justice, the think tanks dealing with foreign and security policy, and the representatives of local governments near the border,” Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Sven Mikser said.
“At the sitting of the Committee, we once again acknowledged that the border treaties establish only where the border line between the two states runs, and their ratification will not attempt to solve any other disagreements, including those concerning history,” Mikser emphasised.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Kaljurand today proposed the Foreign Affairs Committee to ratify the border treaties. She said that she had been dealing with these treaties since 1992, first as an expert and now as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. “I hope that as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I will see the conclusion of the ratification process of the border treaties,” Kaljurand said.
In the opinion of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, these treaties are equally necessary to Estonia and to Russia. “I am convinced that a legally drawn up and correctly marked state border will strengthen the security of the Republic of Estonia,” Kaljurand said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasised that the treaties are technical agreements that establish the state border on the land and the border between territorial waters. The treaties will also make the state border clearer and easier to guard. “They will solve the problem of the Saatse Boot, and some other issues. For the Setos who live on the other side of the border, in principle nothing will change with the signing of the border treaty, neither in the organisation of their lives nor daily life. Since the restoration of the independence of Estonia, they have been living in the territory of Russia. Estonia has always supported them, and will continue supporting them also after the signing of the border treaty,” Minister of Foreign Affairs said.
Next hearing on the border treaties will be held in the Foreign Affairs Committee on 9 November. Under the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act, the first reading has to take place within seven working weeks of the plenary assembly following the opening of proceedings on the bill.
The Board of the Riigikogu opened the proceedings on the Bill on the Ratification of the State Border Treaty between the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Federation and the Treaty on the Delimitation of Maritime Areas of Narva Bay and the Gulf of Finland between the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Federation (108 SE), initiated by the Government, on 13 October.
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